The Congresswoman and Me
I got a call yesterday afternoon from my “partner” Bob and he informed me that Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones was in the hospital. I immediately went on line and followed the news with concern and with some personal interest.
Later as I was watching ABC National News, the local Cleveland station interrupted the broadcast with the announcement that the 58 year old Congresswoman had passed.
Memories of my trip to Boston, the 2004 Democratic Convention as an Elected Alternate-Delegate from the Ohio 17th Congressional District for John Kerry, came rushing to my mind.
I remember the night she spoke at the Convention and the many times she visited the Ohio Caucus morning breakfast. Her smile lite up the room every time.
But my fondest memory is that of the return plane trip from Boston to Akron after the Convention.
There I was sitting on a plane with Congressman Jones, Ryan, Strickland and Kuncinich, along with other notables from the Ohio Delegation. My thought was, “…if this plane goes down I won’t make it to the obituaries, I’ll be somewhere in the classified section.”
It was Congressman Ryan who introduced me to Congresswoman Jones and immediately she put me at ease with that “big grin” that I had thought lite up the Convention Caucus room when she spoke.
She asked about my involvement in the LGBT Community and informed me how she was an active supporter of all Diversity Issues. The Congresswoman wanted to know all about Warren, The Queen of Hearts (our Tavern) and of course my partner Bob.
When we reached Akron and after everyone got their luggage, I found myself walking down the concourse and an arm reached around mine and held it firmly as we walked together. The conversation started as tho it never stopped and I was a long time friend.
I introduced her to Bob at the end of our walk and as we prepared to go our separate ways. She commented that she hoped to see “us” soon and maybe stop by the “Queen”.
The next time I saw Stephanie was at the John Edwards rally in Warren. Bob and I were leaving and an entourage of people came up the Amphitheater walkway and in the middle was the Congresswomen. She passed near by and looked over, recognized us both, waved and then that big smile “beamed.” Unfortunately, that was the last personal contact we had with this gracious, warm and strong leader.
“Memory is one gift from God that death can not destroy.”